Friday, August 20, 2004


We link. You decide.

Chris Matthews and Michelle Malkin had a testy - to say the least - exchange on MSNBC'S "Hardball."

(Plus, there are 2 more transcripts, below, from CNN's "Crossfire" and last week's "Hardball" debate between John O'Neill and John Hurley.)


Here is last night's whole "Hardball" transcript (you must scroll half-way down for the Malkin interview)

Here are excerpts...


Matthews asks Malkin if President Bush can put an end to this with one phone call...

MALKIN: It is interesting. I saw [your] interrogation of [swift boat veteran] Larry Thurlow. All I can say if the main stream media interrogated these private citizens, and did that as aggressively as...

MATTHEWS: Nobody has ever called me mainstream before but thank your for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I guess I‘m big time now.

MALKIN: Aggressively as...

MATTHEWS: I think the president, if he wanted this to stop would make one phone call. Karl Rove, would make one phone call and that would be the end of the ads. That‘s what think, and you know that‘s true, right?

MALKIN: Well, there...

MATTHEWS: Is that true? If he wanted to stop them, he could stop them.

MALKIN: No, I don‘t think he could. No. I don‘t.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown brings up the fact that Kerry's wounds are being questioned in the book "Unfit for Command" including the shrapnel in Kerry's body.
BROWN: He volunteered twice. He volunteered twice in Vietnam. He literally got shot. There‘s no question about any of those things. So what else is there to discuss? How much he got shot, how deep, how much shrapnel?

MALKIN: Well, yes. Why don‘t people ask him more specific questions about the shrapnel in his leg. They are legitimate questions about whether or not it was a self-inflicted wound.


MATTHEWS: What do you mean by self-inflicted? Are you saying he shot himself on purpose? Is that what you‘re saying?

MALKIN: Did you read the book...

MATTHEWS: I‘m asking a simple question. Are you saying that he shot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: I‘m saying some of these soldiers...

MATTHEWS: And I‘m asking question.

MALKIN: And I‘m answering it.

MATTHEWS: Did he shoot himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Some of the soldiers have made allegations that these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: No one has ever accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: That these were self-inflicted wounds.

MATTHEWS: Your saying there are—he shot himself on purpose, that‘s a criminal act?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that I‘ve read the book and some of the...


MATTHEWS: I want an answer yes or no, Michelle.

MALKIN: Some of the veterans say...

But does Michelle Malkin think that the self-inflicted wounds were intentional? I have not heard of the veterans characterizing the self-inflicted wounds as "intentional." I always assumed that the wounds were described (by the Swift Boat Veterans) as accidentally self-inflicted and not coming from enemy fire. Either Michelle Malkin believed that's what self-inflicted meant or Chris Matthews badgered her into saying it that way. It's up to you decide what is the answer.
MATTHEWS: No. No one has every accused him of shooting himself on purpose.

MALKIN: Yes. Some of them say that.

MATTHEWS: Tell me where that...

MALKIN: Self-inflicted wounds—in February, 1969.

MATTHEWS: This is not a show for this kind of talk. Are you accusing him of shooting himself on purpose to avoid combat or to get credit?

MALKIN: I‘m saying that‘s what some of these...

MATTHEWS: Give me a name.

MALKIN: Patrick Runyan (ph) and William Zeldonaz (ph).

MATTHEWS: They said—Patrick Runyan...

MALKIN: These people have...

MATTHEWS: And they said he shot himself on purpose to avoid combat or take credit for a wound?

MALKIN: These people have cast a lot of doubt on whether or not...

MATTHEWS: That‘s cast a lot of doubt. That‘s complete nonsense.

MALKIN: Did you read the section in the book...

MATTHEWS: I want a statement from you on this program, say to me right, that you believe he shot himself to get credit for a purpose of heart.

MALKIN: I‘m not sure. I‘m saying...

MATTHEWS: Why did you say?

MALKIN: I‘m talking about what‘s in the book.

MSNBC - 'Hardball with Chris Matthew' for August 12

On THURSDAY, August 12, Matthews interviewed John O‘Neill, "John Kerry‘s longtime nemesis," (accurate description - look up Dick Cavett Show, 1971) on his new book, “Unfit For Command.” Debating O‘Neill was John Hurley, the national director of the group Veterans for Kerry.

MATTHEWS: You, in other words, argue that the Silver Star he received was wrongly awarded because of failure of the right information to reach Elliott and then that Zumwalt was simply given further bad information.

O‘NEILL: Yes, based on the report Kerry himself provided and the information he provided. We don‘t deny that Kerry should have gotten, acted with ordinary courage. We don‘t attack Kerry for shooting the kid in the back.

MATTHEWS: How do you assess the fact of a commander of a ship bringing a ship basically, beaching a swift boat, going into land, hostile territory, knowing that there‘s V.C. all around and chasing after a guy in very much hostile territory. If you don‘t call that courage, what would you call that?

O‘NEILL: I think it involves an ordinary degree of courage, Chris. I just don‘t think that that‘s the Silver Star.

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, he showed courage in Vietnam.

O‘NEILL: I think that in chasing this kid and shooting him in the back, that that involved some degree of courage. And I believe we all believe that that involved some degree of physical courage.

MATTHEWS: Well, he risked his life, didn‘t he?

O‘NEILL: I don‘t believe that...

MATTHEWS: You mean he didn‘t face enemy, potential enemy fire by going up on the beach in Vietnam in V.C. territory?

O‘NEILL: You mean on that occasion?


O‘NEILL: I don‘t really think so, Chris. We had people shoot at us.

John Kerry got shot at. I‘m not denying that John Kerry in being shot at showed courage. I think he did, just like all the rest of us.


MATTHEWS: Well, compare that to Bush‘s record in Vietnam.

Matthews asks O'Neill if he is a Republican. It turns out that O'Neill is not a Republican he voted for Gore in 2000. (He has said in other interviews that he would have voted for John Edwards had the North Carolina senator won the Democratic nomination).
MATTHEWS: No, because you‘re out here as a proactive indicter of this guy‘s war record. You‘ve chosen to take this role, to write this book, to get these allies to make these case. You‘re a Republican from Texas. You‘re making this case against the guy.

And I‘m simply saying, you can‘t just go out here and take these shots without being responded to by me. I‘m going to ask you, is he less a hero than Bush?

O‘NEILL: And I would like to answer, if you‘ll give me a chance.

MATTHEWS: Sure. Sure. Plenty of time. Take all the time you want.

O‘NEILL: First of all, I‘m not a Republican from Texas. That‘s just not true.

Second, with respect to what he did, we don‘t challenge that he went ashore that day. With respect to overall, he had very limited accomplishments in the short period he was in Vietnam and he came back here and delivered almost a death blow to the U.S. military by lying.

MATTHEWS: OK, that‘s another issue. We‘ll get to that issue.


O‘NEILL: Just a second.

MATTHEWS: That‘s why you‘re mad at him.

O‘NEILL: Absolutely not.

First of all, I believe that his comments and the war crimes claims back here were absolutely wrong. And I‘ll never forget those. Neither will the guys.

MATTHEWS: What war crimes?

O‘NEILL: His claims that U.S. troops committed war crimes on a day-to-day basis, that we were like Genghis Khan.

But a wholly separate issue is, did exaggerate his service in Vietnam?

And my answer to that is, clearly he did.


MATTHEWS: But you have a record going back yourself. But you go back to the Nixon era, when Nixon was looking for someone. Colson and those guys were looking for somebody to debunk the Kerry record, because all the records show they were scared to death of this guy. And you played that role. You close to play that role.

O‘NEILL: Once...

MATTHEWS: I‘m sorry. I don‘t want to get


O‘NEILL: That‘s just not true.

MATTHEWS: By the way, disabuse the public who are watching right now what I‘m wrong about. Where do you live?

O‘NEILL: I live in Houston, Texas.

MATTHEWS: OK, you‘re a Texan.

Have you voted Democrat recently for president?

O‘NEILL: Absolutely. I haven‘t voted for a Republican since 1988. As a matter of fact, I just backed the Democratic mayor of Houston, Bill White.


MATTHEWS: OK, so you‘ve voted—you‘re generally a Republican or a Democrat when it comes to voting for president?

O‘NEILL: It depends on the person, Chris.

MATTHEWS: Did you vote for Clinton?

O‘NEILL: No, actually.

MATTHEWS: Did you vote for Gore?

O‘NEILL: I voted for Perot twice.

MATTHEWS: OK. Did you vote for Gore?

O‘NEILL: I voted for Gore. I voted for Gore. I don‘t know really why I should go into my voting record.


MATTHEWS: No, because it comes down to the question. We‘re going over the issue here of you going after a guy‘s war record and admitting he was courageous in battle, but then arguing about the nature of the way he was awarded the Silver Star. I‘m just wondering why you‘re doing this.

O‘NEILL: Well, the reason I‘m doing it is, he wildly exaggerated two things. He wildly exaggerated his record, which...

MATTHEWS: Well, let‘s start with that. We‘re going down the record.

O‘NEILL: Can I finish answering the question?

MATTHEWS: He won the Silver Star. He was put up for it by General—by Admiral...

O‘NEILL: You‘re not going to let me answer.

MATTHEWS: No, I‘m letting you answer it. But help me out here.

O‘NEILL: All right.

MATTHEWS: He got the Silver Star. He got the Bronze Star. He won three Purple Hearts. You‘re saying this is all just unfair.

O‘NEILL: I‘m saying that, with respect to his Silver Star, he exaggerated the circumstances, that no competent military person that I know would give someone a Silver Star for shooting a kid in the back, although I don‘t find anything wrong with that.

I‘m saying, with respect to his Purple Hearts, two of the three of them, all you need to do is look at the paper. He provided falsified paper to get out of Vietnam in a short period.

CNN.com - Transcripts

Earlier that same day, John O'Neill took part on CNN's "Crossfire." The so-called debate turned into a free for all. James Carville, naturally, did most of the screaming and shouting. Lanny Davis, Bill Clinton's lawyer, attacked O'Neill, too. However, in subsequent interviews Davis said that he was wrong on several assertions in this show because he had not yet read the book, "Unfit for Command."

DAVIS: And every single person, every single person in the numbers that you quote was not on those boats during the incidents that led to the stars. Yes or no?

O'NEILL: No. It's lie. It's a total lie.

DAVIS: Name me a man who was on the boats. Name me a man who was on the boats.


NOVAK: Let him answer, Lanny, please.


NOVAK: Let him answer.

O'NEILL: This is the shout-down, because they can't afford the truth. In the first Purple Heart incident, Lieutenant William Schachte, now a rear admiral in the United States Navy, was on the small whaler with Kerry. He witnessed Kerry with an M-79 fire it and wound himself. He was directly on the boat. He's right here. It was small whaler. And he was right there. And he said -- you know what he said? John, you could have put our eyes out.

They then claimed a Purple Heart for it. In the third incident


NOVAK: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Just a second.

O'NEILL: In the third...

DAVIS: That was a false statement.

O'NEILL: Can I finish? Do you want the complete answer?

NOVAK: Let him finish.


CARVILLE: He's lying. Let the man tell you how he's lying.


NOVAK: He has got to have a chance.


NOVAK: We had Carville going crazy. I want him to have a chance.


O'NEILL: Do you want to talk or just shout?

NOVAK: Let him have a chance.


NOVAK: Wait a minute, Lanny. Let him have a chance.

O'NEILL: Lanny, I know why you don't want me to talk. And I know why you don't want any of our guys to talk.

There was a lot of shouting during this show (especially from James Carville). Make sure you read the entire transcript of this episode of "Crossfire."

More info: Check out Michelle Malkin's blog and her account of the "Hardball" incident. This is Chris Matthew's post production take on the interview.

Update: Check out different and varying opinions, In Search of Utopia, Q and O, Random Jottings, Burning Bird, Arch Pundit, Lilac Rose, LaShawn Barber, Martini Republic, Ramblings Journal, Blog is full of Crap, Alah, Museum of Left Wing Lunacy, Armies of Liberation, Marcus Brown, Double Toothpicks, Wizbang and Spot On.

Update II: Even more interesting takes on this! Patterico, Oliver Willis, Ed Driscoll, Owners Manual, Late Final.

Update III: Opinions galore! Such as TacJammer, Spoons is reminded of a horse of course, , , , , ,


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